LSBBT REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Heart of the Oak by J.L. Novinsky (Children’s)


Genre: Children’s / Nature / Life Cycle
Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing
Publication Date: November 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 36 pages 


This is a sweet story of the life of an old oak tree. He’s old and weathered; his skin is rough and knotty. But he has memories of joy, of love, and of tragedy. He has endured many years and felt the sorrow of so much loss. But his greatest joy is just ahead

Praise for HEART OF THE OAK from Amazon reviewers!

“Such a great book with a heartfelt story!”

“My children and I LOVE this book. We had a wonderful and insightful conversation after we read it.”

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review. 

“Memories of an old oak are long and deep.”

This was such a poignant and heartfelt story examining the life cycle of not only a tree, but the phases and stages within the lives of the people that surround that tree. The story provides such a beautiful and sentimental message about the impact that we have on the environment as well as its role in our own lives. The story strongly captures the essence of the bond many of us can relate to with something like a tree or a body of water that calls upon significant memories from our past or the promise and hope of memories to come. My family and I recently moved into a new home with a huge oak tree in our front yard that spoke to me from the minute I laid eyes on it: The many wonderful afternoons spent reading under its wide shade, the years a swing would provide hearty entertainment, the adventures that await for my children to create as they climb its mighty branches, and all the hours over our life together that my husband and I would spend sitting on a bench discussing our days and watching the world go by. The seasons of life are filled with the flavors of departures, new beginnings, traumas, reunions, and everything in between, which this story was able to capture so remarkably well and with stunning grace. 

“Winter’s bitter gales rustle the last of the brittle leaves that cling to his spindly branches.”

Told from the perspective of the oak tree, we learn how its life came to be as well as the tender and memorable moments that formed its existence. The prose is captivating, charming, and tenderly expressed throughout the story. Additionally, the author’s language choice opens up so much opportunity for growth in vocabulary for children that parents, care givers, and educators can appreciate. While the text and tone will speak volumes to older audiences, the nature of its picture book format provides a great introduction for insightful conversation with younger readers about topics and themes such as loneliness, fear, self-preservation, resiliency, and unconditional love. The illustrations are realistically portrayed and provide a calm visual representation for all the heartwarming and heartbreaking emotion expressed throughout the story. 

This is definitely a book that would make a fantastic addition to any library! With its ability to provide a foundation for learning with children yet also impart so much deep reflection with adults, this is truly a book that can be cherished by generations throughout the circle of life’s continuing journey.

J.L. (Joan) Novinsky was born just outside of Chicago, but she got to Texas as fast as she could! Joan started college at age 55, and while taking a Creative Writing class, she wrote her first story, Heart of the Oak. Joan has now written a second children’s book, Horace and Giselle, available for on-line purchase January 2019. She was married to Bob in 1992, had a son, Stephen, in 1998, then in 2001, she and her husband took on the challenge and excitement of adopting a boy from St. Petersburg, Russia. Andrei joined the family in 2002, and the family resides just north of Dallas with their various and numerous pets.



First Prize: Signed Copy + Bookmark + $25 Amazon GC
Second Prize: Signed Copy + Bookmark + $10 Starbucks GC
Third Prize: Signed Copy + Bookmark

JANUARY 3-12, 2019
(USA only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway  Best of luck!

Many thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and J.L. Novinsky! It was an absolute pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!


Book Trailer
Guest Post
Sneak Peek
Character Interview
Notable Quotable

   blog tour services provided by


2 thoughts on “LSBBT REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Heart of the Oak by J.L. Novinsky (Children’s)”

  1. Oh my goodness, Jenn, your words just overwhelm me! Brought me to tears. Thank you so much for your beautiful review of my book! You saw what I felt as I was writing! -J.L.


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